The project designis the result of the conjunction of different contexts:
- The Plattenbauencontext: the neighbourhood is in an area that is undergoing rapid change and is not subject to strict planning regulations governing development. Buildings are typical of the 1960s, with two towers at the corner of Heinrich-Heine-Strasse. The project must be in dialogue with existing buildings. - The ecological dialogue: breathing (empty spaces)and greenery are major elements. Firstly, the green corridor leading from St Michael-Kirche that runs parallel to the site must be preserved. Secondly, the project must be in keeping with the open and woody spaces in the neighbouring plots. Thirdly, the site contains many trees, which is one of the elements that lend the rue Köpenicker its distinctive character. The project must blend in with the landscape. - The built context: the presence of the underground parking lot and the simple, repeating character of the existing buildings on the plot comprise the building rationale. The project must give prominence to building efficiency. Although the project is conceived in response to the need to increase building density by creating new homes, it is important that it is designed with a new urban perspective in mind at the same time as maintaining the landscaped environment.
2. A PROJECT WITH 2 ASPECTS
The project profits from several imposed constraints by playing with the city/garden duality:
- Keeping two out of three of the rows of existing trees, and in compensation redeveloping a planted parking area (beyond the perimeter),creating an ‘inhabited garden’. The planting weaves in and out of the built areas, penetrating the interstices. - Keeping the visual and physical porosity between the buildings, to create breathing spaces at ground level even though the building density of the plot will be increased. - Creating a protection filter against sound pollution from the street and from the immediate vicinity of the Turbinenhalle. - Orientation of rooms in the apartments according to cityside(noise)and gardenside (calm).
North side, street: a three dimensional grill that is as light as possible at the city level, in continuation with the structural outline of the parkinglot (7.50m), thus organising the urban aspect of the project with integrated access to the apartments (elevators, stairs). Fed by a system of hoses and planted pots, the vegetation will slowly grow in and around the parking area, becoming an integral part of the plot and creating a green, living environment. South side, garden: the apartment modules extend outwards into the garden through a play of balconies and terraces that are directly juxtaposed with existing trees that have been incorporated into the new design (treehouses). The environment becomes even more calm and peaceful.
The 4 apartment plots (up to 6 storeys plus ground floor) are organised in such a way as to preserve the greenery of the site. Similarly, the new tower (Ground floor +12) is positioned at the corner with Michaelskirche-Strasse which will maintain the visual perspective of the green corridor towards the Spree. The project is an ‘urban landscape’.
3. DIVERSIFICATION AND IMPROVEMENT OF LIVABILITY
The project responding to the need to accommodate the demographic evolution of the city, and contains mostly small living units (40% T2, 20% T1). This implies that a majority of inhabitants are either couples or single people. The arrangement of the various elements of the building plan and the morphology of the plots enables the following:
- At least one double exposure, as well as extending-through apartments. - Clear typological principles, with service rooms looking onto the road, and living areas with a view on the garden. Closed spaces are on the side of the building that gives out onto the road, with light-filled open spaces looking onto the garden.
In addition to careful consideration of various different types of housing units, the project proposes the creation of a communal linkage:
- Thedevelopment of a grid of passageways 3.75m wide, offering spaces designed to be the continuation of public areas, creating streets in the sky where people can meet and chat. These walkways can also be partially claimed by tenants as an extension of their individual apartments, offering the possibility of adapting the size of their apartments. Creationof a ‘lifestyle catalogue’. - Commercial development on the ground floor level: local commerce for the local population. Examples: Minimarket, (web)café, bakery, small bookshop/newsagent, dry cleaner, hairdresser, etc. - The ground level spaces, the walkway and some of the roof-level terraces have been designed to accommodate a variety of activities, both group and individual. Crèche and garden, large playground, public outdoor spaces, etc, at ground level. On the roof level, small sports area (fitness, yoga..) and leisure areas, small shared allotments, greenhouses, solariums, etc.
4. SIMPLE MATERIALS
The project is designed to appear calm and contemporary, and to be camouflaged by the surrounding landscape. Abstraction, blending white with the changing colours of the landscape. Simple materials, adapted to the different aspects of the design: - A grill structure giving onto the road, in white lacquered metal (with 20x20cm sections), as well asrailings, cables and staircases, with areas partially filled with horizontal prefabricated white concrete slabs. The possibility of installing vertical mobile panels in a light structure, like white curtains, or white louvered shutters. - Apartment buildings builtin concrete with insulated outer walls and a smooth white exterior render, with balcony additions prefabricated in white concrete with built-in plant pots. Aluminium joinery for thermal breaks, high performance windows and white exterior shade-providing awnings in recycled white tarpaulin or canvas. - Integrated street lighting and apartment lighting
Main principles of the sustainable building approach: - Vertical open circulation to economise energy and costs. - Installation of solar thermic roof panels to complement the domestic hot water supply. - Planting of facades and rooftop areas. - Recycling of rainwater for watering the garden areas. - Use of prefabricated materials to lessen the environmental impact during the building works. - External insulationand thermal breaks. - Low voltage street lighting.